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Renault launches Clio RS 18 ahead of F1 Grand Prix

French flair: The RS 18’s various cosmetic upgrades serve as clear callbacks to Renault’s 40 years in the F1 competition.

Just 10 Renault Clio RS 18 specials coming to Australia, priced from $39,990 BOCs

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Renault logo21 Mar 2018

JUST in time for Australian Formula One Grand Prix this weekend, Renault Australia has announced that only 10 examples of its limited-edition Clio RS 18 hot hatch will hit showrooms, priced from $39,990 before on-road costs.

Fresh off the production line, the first local example, which wears build number 001, will be on display from Thursday, March 22 at the F1 event in Albert Park, Victoria.

Available to purchase now, the RS 18 is based on the RS Trophy flagship ($42,990 driveaway) and named after the Renault Sport F1 team’s 2018 single-seat racecar.

As such, its cosmetic upgrades – including the RS 18 badging on its front doors, grey decals and new RS double-diamond logo on its roof – serve as clear callbacks to the French brand’s 40 years in the F1 competition.

This theme is continued by the Deep Black exterior paint that is contrasted with the Sirius Yellow-finish front blade, protective side mouldings and wheel centre caps.

Rounding out the menacing look is the blacked-out rear badging, front bumper, and Renault diamond and RS logos, as well as the Deep Black finish for the rear diffuser.

Inside, an Alcantara and leather-trimmed steering wheel and carbon-fibre-accented air vent surrounds are complemented by numbered RS scuff plates and RS carpet floor mats.

However, the RS 18’s changes are not purely cosmetic, as its Trophy-spec chassis has been lowered and stiffened, while “its front dampers incorporate hydraulic compression stops and its steering is even sharper and more direct”, according to Renault.

Just like its donor variant, the RS 18 is motivated by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that punches out 162kW of power at 6050rpm and up to 280Nm of torque at 2000rpm when overboost kicks in, while an Akrapovic exhaust system ensures there is plenty of bark to match its bite.

Drive is exclusively sent to the front wheels via a six-speed EDC dual-clutch automatic transmission, meaning the RS 18 should sprint from standstill to 100km/h sprint in 6.6 seconds while on the way to a top speed of 234km/h – matching the marks of its RS Trophy sibling.

Similarly, a fuel consumption claim of 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle test and carbon dioxide emissions of 135 grams per km are also on the cards for the RS 18.

According to Renault Sport Cars Clio RS product manager Quentin Audiffren, the RS 18 brings a little bit of the manufacturer’s F1 know-how to the road.

“Renault Sport customers share our passion for motorsport,” he said. “With this limited-edition model – which is based on the technical foundations of the Clio RS Trophy – we are proud to be able to offer them the very best of our engineering expertise.

“Its sporting credentials are expressed by a number of design flourishes drawn directly from the world of Formula One.

“The Renault Clio RS 18 is an eloquent illustration of the close bond that exists between our motorsport activities and our road cars.”

Clio sales took a significant hit last year, with 1223 vehicles sold to the end of 2017, representing a 36.8 per cent decrease over the 1936 deliveries made in 2016.

This effort placed the Renault 11th in the sub-$25,000 light-car segment last year, trailing the Hyundai Accent (17,578 units), Mazda2 (12,101), Toyota Yaris (11,226), Honda Jazz (7301) and Kia Rio (6852), among others.

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